TLDR: Full video review available below!
The market for phones that fold is starting to become more than a gimmick. With Samsung popularising the clamshell-style foldables via the first Galaxy Z Flip and later the Z Flip3, Huawei joined the current competition with its P50 Pocket.
Beyond its flashy exterior, we discovered some noteworthy features of the phone. Though, not everything ended up in our good books. Here are the pros and cons of the Huawei P50 Pocket.
Pro #1: It’s BEAUTIFUL
Its exterior design reminded us of a compact makeup powder, giving the phone a feminine and luxurious feel.
The Premium Edition’s exterior case which we got was designed by a Dutch fashion designer, Iris van Herpen. She’s known for fusing technology with traditional haute couture craftsmanship.
By the way, haute couture is a legally protected term. Only 14 designers and fashion houses globally have been granted that designation by the French Ministry of Industry.
So for an haute couture designer to be part of this collaboration, that’s a pretty big deal for Huawei and the fashion design industry.
What Huawei did right on the P50 Pocket is its seamless folding form. When it’s folded, it’s closed shut with no gaps in between.
For perspective, the Samsung Z Flip3 suffered from something we like to call a “thigh gap” when shut, meaning there was an awkward empty space by the hinge where dust or other small objects could get in between, leading to scratches.
To add, the P50 Pocket’s screen crease is a lot less noticeable than the Z Flip3’s when the phone is opened fully.
Pro #2: Bigger storage and battery
The P50 Pocket we received had 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. That’s almost double the size of the Z Flip3’s specs.
Another plus for Huawei’s smartphone is the additional external memory slot that the Z Flip3 doesn’t have.
Huawei’s foldable has a Snapdragon processor, 4,000mAh battery, and runs Huawei’s Harmony OS 2.
When it unfolds, you’ll be looking at an OLED screen display and can experience a buttery-smooth interaction with its 120Hz refresh rate.
While this is something the Z Flip3 has as well, its small battery capacity of 3,300mAh deterred us from enjoying such a high refresh rate without draining its battery life so quickly (our six-month review here).
So, the P50 Pocket with its 4,000mAh battery is a welcome addition.
Pro #3: Great cameras
Because it’s Huawei, good cameras are to be expected. The P50 Pocket is equipped with four cameras: Three at the back and one in front.
They can’t be compared to what the P50 Pro is capable of, but when compared to the Z Flip3, Huawei’s cameras absolutely shine.
There aren’t many clamshell phones on the market yet, but Huawei’s P50 Pocket camera seems to offer the highest megapixel as of now.
Thus, you’ll be able to take some great selfies or group photos with this beauty.
Although, the P50 Pocket’s cameras still come with some shortcomings. In Aperture or Portrait mode, for example, the artificial background blurring can underperform and blur out parts of the object that should be focused on.
But we wouldn’t necessarily fault the phone too much, because most phone camera software that uses AI to achieve the bokeh or portrait look tend to suffer from wonky blurrings every now and then.
Here’s where we actually get into some of the phone’s real shortcomings that matter for usability.
Con #1: No Google Mobile Services (GMS)
The lack of GMS on Huawei phones is still a thorn in the brand’s side, and the P50 Pocket suffers too.
Huawei has tried its best with Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), but the fact is, it’s not enough for those whose life, work, and entertainment depends on Google.
Even though we were able to install YouTube and Facebook through a third-party app, we’re still unable to access them.
Other well-known apps like Firefox, Netflix, and Waze are not available in the Huawei AppGallery.
Con #2: It lacks a backbone
The Samsung Z Flip3 allows you to kickstand the phone at 90 degrees, helping it function as a tripod when taking photos.
However, the Huawei P50 Pocket flops back down on a flat surface. So it either snaps fully open or fully closed, unless you’re keeping it open at around a 90-degree angle.
This is ok if you can easily flip it open with one hand, because then it’s like the classic and iconic Motorola Razr. But in this case, you can’t do that, as it really depends on the size of your hand.
Con #3: No water, dust, or scratch resistance
If you’re particular about the smudging on the screen and the exterior of your phone, the P50 Pocket requires a lot of cleaning.
Because of its material, smudges of fingerprints and dust can be seen easily on the case. It also does not have a water-resistant rating.
The lack of gorilla glass for the exterior and interior is missing from this luxurious phone too. Gorilla glass was invented to prevent screen breakage and on some ratings, it is scratch-proof as well.
Hence, the phone can be extremely fragile if you’re not careful.
For its expensive price as a flagship phone at a whopping RM7,299 (for the Gold P50 Pocket designed by Iris van Herpen), it offers great cameras, storage capacity, and was designed by an haute couture icon.
There’s also a White version costing RM5,999, but it’s still a steep price tag to pay.
Just beware that you will lose access to well-known apps, and you’ve got to handle it with extra care.
What we’ve mentioned are just a few of the many features this smartphone has to offer, so to fully see the Huawei P50 Pocket in action, check out the video below: